Cricket Suffers As SLC Politics Get Hotter!

President Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly had to intervene and censure two squabbling top cricket officials last evening in order to save the cricket establishment and avoid a possible disastrous situation at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as the national cricketers were away in England preparing for a difficult series under extremely cold pre-summer conditions, sources told “Daily Mirror”.

The president’s intervention couldn’t have been more timely as an important emergency executive committee meeting scheduled for yesterday to take several time-crucial decisions had to be cancelled as a majority of the 23-member ex-co had informed their inability to attend the meeting.

Sources said that the President had met the two officials at a forum to discuss the preparations for the national Vesak zone near the Gangarama Temple, and had spoken to them on the sidelines of the main meeting. They had reportedly been asked to work together cordially for the sake of country’s cricket.
An angry chief national selector Sanath Jayasuriya termed the move to cancel the ex-co meeting as “sabotage” and accused internal politics among officials to meet petty motives would lead the country’s cricket to ruin, unless the administrators did not get their act together.

“We had to get the ex-co approval for several decisions crucial to the national team which is currently in England. Those decisions required urgent approval. Now they will invariably get delayed. Cricket will suffer as a result and everybody should realise that,” said Jayasuriya who just returned to the island after visiting Ireland and England with the players.

A source close to one faction told “Daily Mirror” that several ex-co members were unhappy that they had been left out of a lot of important decisions since lately and were only asked to approve it later after the real decisions had been taken. He said appointment of Marvan Atapattu without the ex-co approval had been what really hurt most of them.

“They ignore us when decisions are made and then ask us to approve their decisions. What is the point of having an exco? We don’t feel there’s a reason for us to be there,” he said.
SLC Treasurer Nuski Mohamed had meanwhile questioned the decision to send an extra player in addition to the regular squad of 15 and pay him his per-diem without the ex-co approval.

Pace bowler Dhammika Prasad who was picked for the tour of Ireland had been sent by team management on Jayasuriya’s request from Ireland to England as an extra player.

SLC Assistant Treasurer Hirantha Perera agreed that the proper protocol required ex-co approval for the extra player to the squad.

“It is true that ex-co approval is necessary, but in this instance, it was the right move. What’s the point in sending the player back to Colombo from Ireland and send him back again to England also at an additional cost of about Rs. half a million?,” Perera asked.

“Whilst I do not question cricketing decisions that are made from time to time (for that matter I have never done so and always supported same) I cannot comprehend with the disbursements made by Michael (Sri Lanka team manager Michael de Zoysa) without prior recourse to Finance and without EXCO authority. This will inevitably lead to financial indiscipline and irregularity if this trend continues in the future. We therefore need to put a stop to this and work through a process of consensus keeping in mind that certain disbursements following authorisation by EXCO should only be made by the central funds of SLC,” Mohamed wrote in his email yesterday to Perera.

Meanwhile Jayasuriya revealed that they have arranged six players of the Test squad to depart immediately to England and join some county sides for practices and acclimatize themselves ahead of the Test series starting later next month.

Dimuth Karunaratne, Rangana Herath, Prasanna Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Shaminda Eranga and Dilruwan Perera are the players who were to get the nod from the ex-co yesterday.
“Now their departure will be further delayed without the exco approval. I cannot understand why cricket should be victimized like this. It is a pity because all of us are here to protect, develop and promote the game,” said Jayasuriya.

Also in the agenda of yesterday’s emergency ex-co that had been postponed were SLC staff extensions and nominations for Sri Lanka junior and women’s team selectors.